The Indianapolis Colts had to watch the Los Angeles Rams run to the Super Bowl on TV like the rest of us, as Carson Wentz was unable to get Indy to the postseason. Over on the California coastline, Matthew Stafford was carving teams up on his way to the Super Bowl LVI crown.
The Rams were more proactive in acquiring a proven veteran quarterback in Stafford than the Colts, as their trade with Detroit went down as soon as possible. While Wentz has the connection with head coach Frank Reich, Stafford was clearly the superior player when compared against one another.
With Stafford off the market, Indianapolis suffered through a 9-8 season mired by a slow start and tough finish. Wentz, who has been mentioned in trade rumors, didn’t play that poorly for large chunks in the middle of the year, but the Rams’ success means that Stafford would’ve been the better option for this team.
Albert Breer (subscription required) reported that Indianapolis was on Stafford’s list of destinations after demanding a trade. The Colts would almost assuredly have made the postseason with Stafford at the helm, which could’ve set the stage for an even deeper playoff run.
Would the Colts have been better with Matthew Stafford?
Stafford would’ve probably helped the Colts pick up wins against the Titans in the middle of the year and the Jaguars near the end. That would’ve made them an 11-6 team that could’ve hosted a home playoff game. Teams like Tennessee, Cincinnati, or Las Vegas might not scare this new-look offense.
While neither of these teams made it to the Super Bowl the two strongest teams in the conference outside of Cincinnati were Josh Allen’s Bills and Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs. If Stafford and Reich had to go on the road and face either of them, are they able to pull off the win?
Indianapolis may not have won a Super Bowl with Stafford at the helm due to the presence of Kansas City and Buffalo, but they would’ve at least made it to the postseason and helped unseat the Titans at the top of the conference. They also wouldn’t be back in the quarterback market again.
If the Colts had Stafford, they’d be positioned as AFC South favorites with their signal-caller locked in for the next few seasons. Instead, Indianapolis might move off of Wentz and give Reich his fifth Week 1 starting quarterback in a five-season span. It’s hard not to wonder what could have been.